The economic future of Europe is tied to issues of current debt fueled by sharply declining birth rates. More people usually means more workers, more purchasers, and higher levels of GDP. But not one European country has current fertility rate that would enable it to maintain its current population into the foreseeable future.
The pending economic finish line for Greece has been well documented. But Greece has a total economic equal to that of Orange County, California. While there is something to be said for the domino effect when it comes to falling Euro-dominated economies, the failure of Greece would be small potatoes when compared to what could happen in, say, Italy.
The latest figures show Italy’s debt, as stylish as it may be, at $2.3 trillion. This is about 20% more than its economic output. The Italians are getting too old to work in record numbers. Current birth rates in Italy, among the lowest in Europe, are just 1.4 per woman. This means the population is shrinking while also aging. Italians are marrying later in life, if they are getting married at all. Given the current economic challenges and a culture that embraces home and family, significant numbers of Italian adults are moving back home to live with their parents, that is, if they ever left. There is no social stigma attached to the “Mamamia’s” who find staying at home to be equally beneficial to all parties concerned. It is hard being a good father when you’re still living at home with yours.